Lessons Learned from Joshua

“Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you….Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD you God is with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:7,9

superhero-2503808_1920

There’s a humorous video I watched a while ago about a woman who goes to a counselor (Bob Newhart). The woman is plagued with fears.

After she spends some time explaining how he is afraid the counselor says he has two words which will solve all her problems. He pauses and then screams, “Stop it!”

It can be tempting to think getting over our fears is just that easy. If we could just simply stop, all would be better. It can also seem that is all the Lord was doing in this passage when speaking to Joshua.

Three times God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous. However, God does not end there.

He explains to Joshua how it can be possible.

God tells Joshua to follow His commands.

The Lord accompanies the instruction of being strong and courageous with an instruction to follow God’s other commands. He says to meditate on them day and night. He tells Joshua to keep the Law on his lips.

Joshua is expected to know the commands of God in and out, so Joshua can be fit to lead the people of Israel.

God says He will be with Joshua.

God does not look at Joshua and say, “Be strong and courageous. Now, I’ll be seeing you later.” He promises to stay with Joshua and go with him wherever he goes.

That has got to make Joshua stand up a little taller.

How it applies.

In  life we are going to come across situations which may make us uneasy. We may even be afraid to move forward.

I believe God has the same expectations of us as he did Joshua. We must continually find ourselves in God’s word. We need to know it in and out.

That is not going to happen overnight. It will take the rest of our lives. So we should start now.

When we are following the commands of God, He will be with us. The Holy Spirit was sent after Jesus’s ascension into heaven to be a guide. God is still literally with us wherever we go.

All we need to do is know His word follow the commands we find in it.

Does that mean we will never face hardship?

No.

The people of Israel were literally crossing into the promised land where they knew battles would be waged.

We will face plenty of battles. But when we follow God’s leading, we will come out on the winning side.

Because we know that, we can be strong and courageous.

Hearts, and Babies, and Lent! Oh My!

heart-3146184_1920

Happy Valentine’s Day to one and all! Stores have been preparing us for this day ever since right before New Years.

We started seeing the red and pink candies and other sweets flood the aisles as well as over-sized stuffed animals.

Don’t forget about the cards!

And the day has finally arrived. I know Valentine’s Day gets a mixed response every year. You have the people who thrive on it. They cannot wait to surprise their significant other with showers of gifts to publicly display their love.

Others are less enthusiastic. You may hear, “You know, you should be showing your love every single day of the year. Don’t fall for the hype of doing it just one one day.”

Then there are groups of singles who tenderly refer to the day as “Singles Awareness Day.”

No matter what camp you find yourself, this year Valentine’s Day shares its time slot with another celebrated day.

Today is also the beginning of lent; also known as Ash Wednesday.

Now, I’ve never celebrated Lent. I think the idea of fasting so that we focus more on God is a great idea. I have been involved with activities leading up to Resurrection Sunday which are designed to help focus on the “reason for the season.

I’ve just never formally celebrated this Catholic turned denominational church tradition.

That being said, with Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday falling on the same day it makes for a wonderful illustration.

The purpose of the Lenten season is to prepare oneself for the coming of Easter. Easter, being the holiday Christians take special to remember the resurrection of our Savior; who came to the Earth to save us from our sins because of His great love for us.

Everything God has done for us, He has done out of love.

He made the world and made us to enjoy it because He loves us.

When we had ruined our relationship with Him as a result of sin he set a plan in motion so we could be reconciled to Him, because of His love.

Jesus chose to go through with death, even death on a cross, because of His love for us.

And today, as Christians, we can have communion with the Father through the Holy Spirit who resides with us, because of His love.

His love is unwavering. It is unconditional. His love is eternal.

That is something to celebrate.

As we hand out our tiny Valentine cards, and snack on candy, and go out to dinner with loved ones, let us remember the One who is love.

Whether we take part in Lent or not, let us choose this time to draw closer to the God who has given us the model of love in the first place.